Extreme Iron Rain Happens on This Planet


The planet is experiencing iron rain with even more extreme rainfall than scientists expected. Its location is hundreds of lights from Earth.

Reported CNN, this iron rain usually occurs at night. This is known to researchers based on observations from the Gemini North Telescope, which is located near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

New findings show the planet WASP-67b is even hotter than scientists thought. The research is part of a Cornell University-led project called ExoGemS, or Exoplanets with the Gemini Spectroscopy survey.

This project brings together scientists who study atmospheric diversity on exoplanets, which are planets located outside our solar system.

The results were published Sept. 28 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters and presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

Discovered in 2016, an ultra-hot planet the size of Jupiter orbits in the constellation Pisces, 640 light-years from Earth. Due to its relatively close distance, WASP-76b completes one orbit around it every 1.8 days compared to Earth and absorbs thousands of times the radiation that Earth receives from the sun.

The planet is tidally locked, meaning that the same side of the planet is always facing the star. The daytime side of the planet, which faces the star, is over 2,426 degrees Celsius.

Extremely hot daytime temperatures, hot enough to turn molecules into atoms and metals into steam, create iron vapour. Strong winds carried this to the night side, where relatively cooler temperatures hovered around 1,315 degrees Celsius.

The iron vapor condenses into clouds, causing rain of molten iron. This phenomenon creates the iron that can be observed in the atmosphere.

The ExoGemS survey aims to study about 30 exoplanets, led by Jake Turner, a Carl Sagan Fellow in NASA’s Hubble Fellowship program and a research associate in Cornell University’s astronomy department.

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